The next room in the major renovation of our Atlanta home is the renovation of a dining room. We converted our former kitchen into a beautiful dining room, perfect for entertaining.
Before starting on this dining room renovation, we renovated the former family room into our new kitchen. It’s a beautiful room and you can find out details on the kitchen renovation starting here.
Swapping rooms can make blog posts a bit confusing. So, I recommend you sit back and savor the post . . . in other words, read slowly =)
Doing a major renovation like this is costly even saving money by doing the work yourselves. And, it takes a tremendous amount of time. So you need to have several good reasons to take it on. And a really solid marriage helps too LOL. You can find out why we decided to swap the rooms here.
The layout before renovating our dining room and kitchen
To help you understand the layout, here is a picture looking into the former kitchen when we bought the house. The picture was taken standing in the former family room, which is now our kitchen.
We removed most of that wall on the right, dividing the two rooms.
In the picture below, the wall on the left came out entirely, and the wall on the right where the fridge sits was partially removed. If you walked through that door you would walk into the former dining room. If you walked through that door and took a right you would walk into the formal living room.
If you turned around and walked in the other direction, you would walk into the former family room (now our kitchen). If you walked toward the former family room and made a left you would go into the foyer. This large desk was situated where the kitchen and the foyer met. There was a large closet on the other side of the wall where that desk is, that you entered from the foyer. I never understood why they built a closet that size in the foyer, but it doesn’t matter because its gone now! That wall where the desk ends is also gone for the most part. It doesn’t look that deep from this shot, but remember, there was a closet on the other side that was at least 5 feet deep.
Removing a closet and rerouting some pipes
The picture below is after the demo of the above mentioned desk and closet. Getting rid of that closet opened up the area and gave us a lot more space to work with. See those pipes running down on the right hand side? Those were totally unexpected and ran from one of the upstairs bathrooms. Because the wall was removed, TJ had to reroute all those pipes in the ceiling so that they came down with the pipes from another bathroom.
After he re-routed the pipes, we counted 94 connections he had to make. I have to tell you, that’s impressive. And guys, he’s not a plumber or even a construction contractor. He’s a cyber security architect! I truly have the best of both worlds with my amazing husband.
Floor and more Floor
We removed the pine floors in the kitchen and the family room because the wood didn’t match the size or type of wood originally installed in the rest of the house. Having very different wood floors installed on the same level made the spaces feel chopped up and, well cheap. Which it wasn’t. The wood was beautiful and you know it was expensive. But it didn’t look like it because it was so mis-matched. That’s the opposite of our goals, right?! We want the end result to look like it cost more than it did, not less! You can find out more about removing the wood floors here.
More demo for our kitchen and dining room renovation
So while TJ was doing his magic to the new kitchen, I was busy getting rid of the old one. We weren’t able to salvage much from the kitchen except the dishwasher which went to my parent’s lakehouse and we relocated the fridge to ours. Everything else was 50+ years old and desparate to be retired.
A laminated beam
Here is a shot of the area after we removed the desk and closet. We added that laminated beam in the opening since the closet wall was load bearing. It wouldn’t have been a difficult task because it isn’t a long wall, but it looked like the original builder had used leftover pieces of wood for the 2nd floor joists and some of them were pieces nailed together. Since we’d torn it all out, we ended up just removing the pieced joists and installing new ones, which of course took longer.
I threw his picture in simply to show the amount of destruction we went through to get to the end result. We had to remove the sub-floor to expose the HVAC, electrical and water lines that we re-routed to the new kitchen. You can read about that process here.
The picture below is taken standing where the desk and closet had been. To the left is the archway we built to expand the entrance from the new kitchen into what will be the dining room.
Removing a window and installing new wood flooring
We removed the window you see, which was originally over the kitchen sink. As you’ll see in a minute, when we finished the room you’d never know it was there. On the outside of the house we’re going to make it look like closed exterior shutters. There is a grill nearby, so we may make the shutters open so that we can add shelves to store some items that may be helpful when grilling.
You can also see where the new flooring has been installed to line up with the original flooring in the former dining room and the living room. Once the floors are refinished you’ll never be able to tell the difference. Just one of the benefits of wood flooring.
Exposing the ceiling
The sheetrock on the ceiling came down for a couple of reasons: we removed walls which left gaps in the sheetrock; the ceiling needed to be exposed so we could rerun the plumbing as explained earlier in the post; and, lack of lighting. Not having any lights is a problem we have throughout this old house. I wanted a bright room, with dimmable switches for chandeliers and inset lights. I also wanted lighting in the china cabinet.
The only reason I’m sharing the following picture is because the wiring to this fan totally confounded us. It was like a “hub” for the electricity in the house. There were wires running to it from everywhere – even from upstairs bedrooms! It’s amazing what you find when you take out walls and ceilings . . .
Why you may want a drywall lift
We were lucky to have a neighbor that was also doing some DIY. He had just finished renovating his basement and he had a drywall lift that he let us borrow. And let me take a moment to say it was just another example of how incredibly helpful and sharing DIYers are =)
The drywall lift is one of the tools I didn’t even know existed, but am so glad I know about it now. We used it for the drywall in the ceiling and to help us lift laminated beams. Without it, TJ and I wouldn’t have been able to get some of those beams up by ourselves. If you’re doing any reno work that includes drywall (or laminated beams) I highly recommend one. If we can’t borrow it again, we’ll be purchasing one as we move through the house.
Shadow boxes for our dining room
I wanted a dining room that could be casual or formal, but would always be comfortable and beautiful. For the trim, in addition to the crown molding we added shadow boxes. Shadow boxes are similar to batten board, (which I also love), but you have more room above them which allows for more artwork in the space.
I have always loved the look of shadow boxes in a home. I first saw them in the movie “Pacific Heights”, which was a thriller, but involved a home renovation. Of course it did, I loved home renovation even back then – and that was in the 90s! In the movie the shadow boxes were in the foyer and hallway and I absolutely loved the look. I added them to the hallway of the little house I first owned and I think I’ve had them somewhere in every home I’ve had since then.
TJ used cabinet grade plywood for all the baseboards, shadowboxes, window and door casings, and the columns. In the picture below you can see he also used small trim to line the inside and outside of the shadow boxes and the detail on the columns dividing the rooms. He also added the chunky chair rail to add depth.
I’ll do a separate post that showcases the different types of trims, boxes, batten-board, etc that we use throughout the house. That way I’ll be able to go into more detail on what we used and the process.
A few more shots of the beautiful trim
The picture below is taken while I’m standing in the new kitchen looking into the new dining room. I’m loving that word . . . NEW!
We have new lights! New drywall (which also means new plumbing)! New china cabinet (thanks to my awesome cabinet man)! New columns separating the space! New flooring! And, new lighting!
Drywall mud and finishing the trim
The drywall mud. One of my least favorite projects, however, as I’ve moved through the house I’m definitely finding ways to make it go faster and less dusty. I’ll share those in a future post.
On the trim, TJ builds it and I finish it. Normal process which is to sand, a coat of primer, fill gaps, sand, paint first coat, final sanding, caulking and then (finally!!!) the final coat of paint.
New french doors
The picture below shows the start of the drywall mudding, but far more exciting, you can see the new doors going out to our back porch!
We decided to stick with french doors in the dining room and we replaced the original fiberglass doors with these beautiful mahogany doors. We replaced the sliding glass doors in the kitchen with the same doors. When we’re finished with the porch we’ll be able to open all the french doors and utilize the porch for entertaining space.
The doors were delivered already sanded (THANKFULLY!) so I just had to finish them. They weren’t warrantied unless I added 3 coats of an exterior urethane on all 6 sides. Lots of finishing since we have six doors. I used my trusty Minwax English Chestnut stain and my favorite Helmsman Spar Urethane.
And finally – the kitchen and dining room renovation!
I can’t share a picture with the the floors refinished just yet, because the whole floor will be anded and refinished at the same time.
So, for now, TA DA!!
We had to go ahead and move our dining table in the room even though we don’t have the floors done so we could continue the renovation in the remaining rooms. We had been storing it in the living room because it was too big for any of our other rooms LOL. We didn’t build it ourselves, but we had it built by an amazing family that has 14 children and they all have a responsibility in the business of building these amazing tables. The table can seat 14 comfortably and more can be easily squeezed in if needed – which is often the case because we have a large extended family =)
We’ll be sharing pictures of the next phase of our main floor renovation soon – the work going on behind that plastic you see! And once the floors are done, more finished pictures of each of the rooms with furniture and decor.
So stay tuned and please consider signing up to receive a notification when I post the next update. Lots more to share!